Palos Park Couple's Deaths Ruled Murder-Suicide

Investigators believe Walter Puk shot his wife Larisa Markewych, and then killed himself in their Palos Park home. Police were called to the home for a verbal dispute in October of 2011.

From the outside they seemed like a family who had it all. Their newly remodeled Palos Park home was adorned with carefully planned landscaping and several cars sat in the driveway.

That image was broken Tuesday afternoon when a quiet wooded street was blocked off with police cars, yellow police tape now stretches across the well kept home.

It was their 17-year-old son, a student at Stagg High School, who found the bodies of his parents in the bathroom of the home at 12315 Mohawk Road, police said.

Larisa Markewych, 55, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office. Nearby was her husband Walter Puk, 53, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, officials said.

They were found at 3:36 p.m.

What exactly transpired in the bathroom that afternoon might never be fully known, a crime confined to those who were there.

Police were called to the home in October of last year over a verbal dispute, Police Chief Joe Miller said.

Also in the home at the time of the incident was the elderly mother of Markewych who is sickly, police said. She was transported to a nearby care facility.

A college-age daughter goes to school in Wisconsin. Both children attended District 118 schools. 

"Very nice kids," wrote Sue Hennessy on the Palos Patch Facebook page. "Our heartfelt sympathy to them and their entire family."

At no time did the investigation focus on other suspects. 

“The incident was contained to the home,” Miller said.

In the hours after their deaths, neighbors anxiously wondered what was transpiring on the usually serene street. Sirens and police tape are an extremely rare occurrence.

“Not a lot of the neighbors knew this family,” said Sue Welbourn, who lives on a nearby block. “From the outside they looked like the perfect family.”

Markewych was a dentist in Palos Heights, her office located at 7804 W. College Drive. She was expected into the office around 3 p.m. that afternoon, police said.

According to Markewych’s LinkedIn profile, she was a graduate of Loyola University’s dental school and has been practicing since 1984.

“Everyone I know is just shocked and feels terrible for the son,” Welbourn said.

The deaths of another husband and wife might still be on the minds of area residents. It was on Sept. 11 of last year that John and Maria Granat were found beaten and stabbed in their Palos Township home about six blocks from Mohawk Road.

Their son John Granat, and three friends,

A similar incident occurred in May of 2003 when an elderly man who was dying of cancer shot his wife and himself at their home on the 12500 block of 90th Avenue. It was the last incidence of murder within the Village of Palos Park, Miller said.

Police are meeting with the family Wednesday afternoon and investigators with the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force continue to look into the circumstances of the shooting, Miller said.

The case is expected to wrap up within a day or two. 

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Dianne J. April 12, 2012 at 03:47 AM
Larisa was more than my family's dentist she was a friend. She made my 3 sons want to go for their check-ups throughout their childhood. She had a very comforting style with children and we are all so sadden by this loss. Lariss always shared stories of her children. When she would talk about them she would glow with love and pride. She will be greatly missed by so many people whose lives she touched.
Sue April 12, 2012 at 12:22 PM
Larisa was my family dentist for 25 years. She is the only dentist my two kids know. We followed her to all three of her offices. My family will really miss Larisa. My thoughts and prayers are with her two children that she talked about so much
joycebeach April 12, 2012 at 01:57 PM
To her children, May you rise above this tragedy and keep faith in those who love you.
Pam Bednarz April 12, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Larisa was the best! Prayers to her Children who she loved so much!
Nancy Workman April 12, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Like others, Larissa had been my dentist for over 25 years. I met her in Brighton Park where she first practiced and then when I moved like her to the southern suburbs, I kept going to her office, at both locations. I read the story in today's paper quite by accident and was shocked at the events. I too recall her stories of her children and their vacations scuba diving in the Caymans. her staff was also very sensitive and supportive, so they must be devestated at the news.


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